The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, also known as the “Fair Deal”, provides financial support to people who need long-term nursing home care. The scheme is operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
- Under this scheme, you make a contribution towards the cost of your care and the HSE pays the balance.
- The scheme covers approved private nursing homes, voluntary nursing homes and public nursing homes. You can get a list of approved nursing homes from the HSE
- You can apply for financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home through the Fair Deal scheme.
- You need to be approved for Fair Deal before you can receive funding for a nursing home.
- You can choose to pay privately for care while you wait for funding. Fair Deal funding can't be backdated and will only be paid from the date of approval.
Researching different nursing homes
It's important to look at different nursing homes before choosing one. You should make an appointment to visit the nursing home before making a decision.
Contact your preferred nursing home as soon as possible. You will need to see if they have a place available and can meet your care needs. They may have a waiting list.
If the nursing home you want does not have space, you can go to a different one temporarily. You can then apply for a transfer when space becomes available in your preferred nursing home.
If you are assisting someone to apply for nursing home care, involve them as much as you can in the decision. Consider their preferences and personal values before choosing a nursing home.
Cost of nursing home care.
The Fair Deal financial assessment will tell you how much you will pay towards the total cost of nursing home care. The Fair Deal Scheme will pay the balance.
Your payment will be the same for voluntary, private or a public nursing home.
The National Treatment Fund has agreed on maximum prices with all registered nursing home. This is not the amount you will pay for your nursing home care. Your contribution to the cost of your care will be worked out after a financial assessment. The HSE then pays the balance between what you pay for your care and what the nursing home charges for providing that care.
The Fair Deal does not cover:
- Short-term care such as respite, convalescent or day-care.
- Extra fees charged by the nursing home for services like hairdressing, therapies or activities.
- Ask your nursing home what extra fees will need to be paid. An agreement of these extra costs must be in place by the time you enter the nursing home (admission date).
- All nursing homes are inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).
There are 4 steps to the Fair Deal application process:
- Complete the application form
- Complete and sign the application form. By doing this you are applying for a care needs assessment and financial support.
- There is a list of documents you need to send with your application form.
- Send the completed form with the documents listed on the application form to your Local Nursing Homes Support Office.
- People with reduced capacity to make decisions
If a person is unable to apply themselves, a specified person may apply on their behalf. A specified person can be a:
- care representative (a person appointed by Circuit Court)
- Ward of Court (a person appointed by Office of Ward of Courts)
- holder of a registered enduring power of attorney (chosen to act on behalf of another person)
- spouse or partner
- relative over 18 years of age
- legal representative
- registered medical professional, nurse or social worker
Care needs assessment
The Scheme will contact you to arrange a care needs assessment. This will assess your need for nursing home care.
- A public health nurse or medical professional will assess your:
- ability to perform daily tasks such as dressing and washing
- Level of independence
- Cognitive functioning - levels of attention, memory, learning, and language
- You will receive a decision in writing after the assessment.
- Financial assessment
The Scheme will calculate how much you will pay towards the cost of nursing home care.
The amount depends on your income (money received on a regular basis) and assets (investments and property).
If you have little income and assets, you pay less. If you have more income and assets, you pay more.
The amount your nursing home charges does not affect the amount you will pay.
For example: if the amount is calculated at €200 per week this will be the same whether the nursing home charges €770 per week or €1050 per week. The Scheme will pay the balance.
Your contribution is based on all of the following. You will pay:
80% (40% if you are part of a couple) based on your income
7.5% (3.75% if you are part of a couple) of your cash assets such as savings, stocks, shares
7.5% (3.75% if you are part of a couple) of your assets such as land or property
The first €36,000 (€72,000 if you are part of a couple) is excluded from the assessment. This is excluded firstly from your cash assets and then any remainder from your non-cash assets.
Your home will only be included in the financial assessment for a period of 3 years. You will not pay more than 22.5% (11.25% if you have a part of a couple) of the value of your home. This cap can also extend to your farm or business.
We will send you a letter to confirm the amount you will pay. You will receive a further letter to confirm your funding approval.
You can choose to apply for an optional nursing home loan
You can apply for a nursing home loan if you own property in Ireland. This can be a house, land, business property or any other property in the State.
The nursing home loan is optional. The process of applying for a nursing home loan can sometimes take several months. It is advised you apply for the loan when you apply for Fair Deal funding. You do not need to accept the nursing home loan if you are approved.
If you are applying on behalf of someone, only these types of specified person can apply for the nursing home loan:
- Care representative (a person appointed by Circuit Court)
- Ward of Court (a person appointed by Office of Ward of Courts)
- Holder of a registered enduring power of attorney (chosen to act on behalf of another person)
- Repaying the nursing home loan
You can choose to pay the loan back at any time. You do not have to pay the amount during your lifetime, but it will be collected from your estate upon death.
If your partner is still living in your home after your death, they can apply for a deferral. This means the loan amount based on the home can be collected from their estate after their death.
It is important to start the process of applying for the scheme as early as possible to avoid unnecessary stress in the future when it comes to researching and funding the needs of an elderly person or parent who may have to consider residing in a nursing home. At Eoin Murphy Solicitors we are available to assist you or your family when it comes to making this decision.